Final Notes, Michell Burt “Bea” Lilly

Pioneer bluegrass musician Michell Burt “Bea” Lilly, 83, passed away on September 18. Bea, with his brother Everett, known as the Lilly Brothers, were one of the foremost brother duets in country and bluegrass music. The brothers grew up in Clear Creek, West Virginia. Beginning in the late 1930s, they carried their singing and playing to audiences around the world. Early in 1952, Tex Logan persuaded both Everett and Bea to join him in Boston, where with the addition of Don Stover on banjo, they took bluegrass sounds to New England. Initially they worked at WCOP Boston on the Hayloft Jamboree and then at various clubs, mostly notably a long stint at the Hillbilly Ranch. They recorded some material for Event Records in 1956 and 1957 (later released on County) and albums for Folkways and Prestige International, the latter being cut and marketed in the era of the urban folk revival. An album of live recordings from 1960, released in Japan, was some of the first bluegrass to be sold in that country. With the exception of a few brief periods such as Everett’s second stint with Flatt and Scruggs in 1958-59 and Don Stover’s tour with some other bands, the Lilly Brothers and Stover worked constantly in the Boston area from 1952 until January 1970. The impact and legacy that Bea and Everett Lilly had on the music community in the Northeast is immense and set the stage for what continues to be a vibrant music scene. More information can be found at

-Gerry Katz

The Old Time Herald PO Box 61679• Durham, NC • 27715-1679
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